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Should ministers fear the teaching unions’ threats?

The merger of the NUT and ATL unions is expected to bring added clout to teachers’ demands, but next month’s general election could slow progress – and taking action will be tougher than it has been before

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“Our system is killing our children”, claimed one teacher during a passionate debate about primary testing over the weekend.

“We must bring down this whole stinking edifice,” she told an audience of activists in Cardiff, who had earlier been rallied to “decapitate” the Sats “monster”.

This year’s Easter teaching union conferences had plenty of the usual fiery rhetoric. But in reality, it is increasingly rare for industrial action threats to be acted upon.

Will this year be any different? Does the government – today’s or any future administration – have anything to fear from teaching unions?

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